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Two Themes

This discussion is intended to be nontechnical. Although some of the ideas may seem difficult, and nomenclature such as quarks, photons, or gravitons may be unfamiliar, two important themes can be appreciated without a mastery of the exotica of modern physics.

The first theme is that today, about twelve-billion years after the bang (AB), we have a pretty good idea what the universe was like earlier than one second AB,I will not address the issue of whether the universe had a beginning or not, which in the modern cosmological context concerns the issue of whether inflation is eternal. For the purpose of this discussion,...because we can understand the very early history of the universe by studying the present universe. All around us we see the evidence of what the universe was like at earlier times because the early universe left behind something analogous to a fossil record for us to examine. The fact that the universe is comprehensible at all is astounding. That we can speak with confidence about the universe one second AB is one of the proudest intellectual accomplishments of our species.

The second theme that runs through this discussion regards the unity of science. Although the study of science at schools and universities is organized into different departments for physics, chemistry, biology, and so on, nature is not so easily categorized. A single part of nature cannot be studied in isolation. This was eloquently stated by the great American naturalist and conservationist John Muir:

When one tugs at a single thing in nature,
he finds it hitched to the rest of the universe.

We will see that one cannot understand the largest things in the universe without understanding the smallest things, and to truly understand nature on the smallest scales, one has to understand it on the largest scales.

We call this link between the large and the small the "Inner Space/Outer Space" connection. In a very real sense, the largest telescope is also a microscope, and the most powerful microscope is also a telescope.

Contributed by: Dr. Edward Kolb

Cosmic Questions

Did the Universe Have a Beginning? Topic Index
A Recipe for Primordial Soup

Two Themes

Growing Cosmology
The Universe Today
The Ten Commandments
Into the Primordial Soup
The Recipe for a Universe
The Importance of Nothing
A Cosmic Symphony


Rocky Kolb

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Did the Universe Have a Beginning?
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Are we Alone?
Interview Index
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  Media Index

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Big Bang Cosmology and Theology
Glossary Terms
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